Category Archives: Uncategorized

But... It Doesn't Say That!

I had a post planned for today, one which is half written, but I'm going to have to call an audible. I came across something that's too weird not to discuss. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes this claim in its Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2ºC (very high confidence). The risk of irreversible loss of many marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2°C or more (high confidence). {3.4.4, Box 3.4}

This is a dramatic claim which holds (virtually) all coral reefs in the world will die. Given such a serious claim, I'd expect there to be lot of good research supporting it. Instead, it turned out not even cited portions of the IPCC report make the same claim.
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Skeptics Will Believe Anything (Part 1?)

I was wanting to discuss a couple substantive issues with the latest IPCC report and how the review process either failed, or actually introduced new problems, but unfortunately the IPCC has not published the draft versions and reviewer comments they said they'd publish. They explain this:

Which is rather strange given the IPCC has launched a PR campaign in which it talks about how the latest report has now been published. The contradiction here doesn't seem to bother the IPCC. I've talked about it before, and I've actually contacted the IPCC directly about this issue in the past. Their response has always been to shrug it off, because apparently it is okay for the IPCC to blatantly contradict itself. Because... consensus?

I don't know what to make of the IPCC simultaenously saying this report is both published and not published. I don't know what to make of the IPCC saying draft versions can't be quoted, cited or distributed while running a PR campaign in order to get as many people to read a draft report as they can. It's weird. And perhaps more importantly, it interferes with anyone's ability to fairly judge the reports the IPCC makes. I don't know how the IPCC can "publish" its report then say it won't release its drafts and reviewer comments for months because the report isn't published. What I do know is there's a lot of material we can't effectively discuss because of it.

That all said, Skeptics don't care about this. You won't see them complaining about this. They won't complain because they don't care. Skeptics are lazy and don't actually want to examine things. They just want easy talking points they can throw around. This report is providing some perfect examples. Today, I'd like to highlight one from the big name Ross McKitrick:

This is idiotic. The highlgihted passage by the IPCC cites two trends, one from recent times and one from times long ago. As references, it cites two sources, one a temperature record of modern times and the other a temperature reconstruction of olden times. McKitrick says this is wrong because the second source, the one reconstructing temperatures thousands of years back in time, can't be used to show modern temperatures. In doing so, he simply ignores one source is a reconstruction of modern temperatures.

There are many problems with the new IPCC report, and oen could even argue this particular passage is wrong. But as long as Skeptics keep making and embracing these sort of lazy, idiotic talking points, why should anyone listen? Why should anyone care? They shouldn't. They won't.

Still, tomorrow I'll talk about a troubling issue in this IPCC report. I can't give as much context as I'd like since the IPCC knowingly makes false claims to the public, but I'll do what I can.

Totally Unbiased

Sometimes people make it too easy. I saw this tweet yesterday:

So I commented on how people who write that sort of headline are a key reason meaningful action won't be taken to combat global warming. That sort of headline inspires distrust as it makes it appear the source is extremely biased. I won't dwell on that since it's boring to drone on ad nauseam about how people are so partisan truth accuracy seem to have little value anymore. Suffice to say, the headline is terrible. The fact it went to print speaks volumes about the BBC.

Which is why the BBC secretly changed the headline. You can see the original article here. You can see the current one here. The headline has been changed to read:

Final call to save the world from 'climate catastrophe'

If terribly biased (and incidentally, inaccurate) headlines aren't enough to show you're untrustworthy, secretly changing your publications to try to hide your idiotic mistakes arising from your bias ought to be.
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Conspiracies Everywhere

There was an odd post over at Climate Audit a couple months ago which observed a web domain name involved in a hacking attempt attributed to Russian operatives is now being hosted in New York. A commenter quickly observed the domain name has simply been bought by a company which holds onto hundreds of thousands of otherwise unused domain names as part of its business. The post was updated to note this, observing the apparent oddity was in fact nothing.

All in all, it was a nothing post that wouldn't merit any further discussion. However, posts like it have encouraged a certain segment of the site's audience to discuss ideas which are, to be blunt, nuts. I find it amusing to look at these comments from time to time, and a week ago, I saw one which I thought merited a response. The comment I submitted landed in moderation and has been stuck there for the last week (I presume because the blog is largely inactive now). I don't really care if shows up there, but I do think it's something people should at least consider so here is a screenshot of the exchange:

Nevous? Go With a Friend

It's another busy week as I've decided to go to a nerdy card game tournament at the last minute, and I want to prepare so I might not make too much of a fool of myself. It's nice not to be spending my time dealing with the insanity of things like the global warming debate for a while, but I don't want to be silent so here's a picture from my small trip last week. Remember folks, if you're nervous, go with a friend:

Can We Have Some Standards?

I broke my finger recently bad enough I needed ten stitches, I should recover fine, but it makes typing more difficult. As a result, today's post is going to rely heavily upon things I've already said on Twitter.

The topic today is a recent story going around because of a paper which claims recycling ia a key source of plastic litter that's being found in oceans. The eye-grabbing quote used by the paper is:

While the quote is real, the subsequent interpretation This is a total fabrication. The quote in no way says that. In fact, the source it is taken from makes it explicitly clear this claimed meaning isn't correct. Despite this, the paper is getting a lot of publicity from the global warming "skeptic" crowd.

The GWPF, whose letterhead the paper is published on, issued a press release promoting the paper. Andrew Montford, a popular Skeptic blogger and member of the GWPF has been tweeting to promote it and even published an article to do the same. Watts Up With That, the largest Skeptic website, ran an article promoting it. So forth and so on. Lots of people like what this paper claimed so they somehow failed to notice its central claim is simply made up. That, or maybe they just failed to care.
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Does Anyone Else Think This is a Problem?

A bad storm hit Thursday, and I'm still dealing with the aftermath (fortunately, there was no real damage just a huge mess to clean up) so today's post is going to be a but light. I wouldn't even make one today except this issues blows my mind. Yesterday I saw Richard Betts tweet about a new paper of his, with this tweet in particular catching my eye:

This tweet surprised me because the IPCC didn't publish a single PDF for TCR, a matter Betts even discussed a couple weeks ago. What the IPCC did was publish PDFs from a dozen or so studies, not picking one or attempting to combine them into a single PDF. This means there was no single PDF Betts could have chosen to use in his paper as "from IPCC AR5." There were a dozen or so he could have picked from, but...
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Forget Joking

My last post has received a fair amount of pushback on Twitter despite nobody seeming to be able to find any error with it (save for some typos which I am glad to have fixed). There have been claims that I was wrong to accuse anyone of dishonesty, but in terms of objective matters, The only issue I can find where anyone has said I am wrong arises where I said:

Now, any curious reader would naturally wonder, "Why is Zeke talking about what Hansen's model could have projected from 1958 to 2018 when the model was made/used in 1988?" Zeke doesn't offer an answer. In fact, he doesn't even bother to refer to the issue, not even obliquely.

Zeke tells people we shouldn't judge Hansen's model by what he guessed would happen in the future because Hansen had to try to predict things about human behavior which he couldn't possibly hope to predict, but then, Zeke silently changes the the topic. Instead of looking at what Hansen's model might say about the future (as of 1988), Zeke says we ought to look at what Hansen's model says would happen from 1958 to 2018. That's a huge change in topic, one Zeke not only fails to discuss but completely glosses over.

Is it possible Zeke doesn't understand the difference between judging a person's projections about the future on what happens in the future and judging those projections on what happened in the past? No. That'd be stupid. Zeke clearly knows better than that. He knows fully well that including 30 years of what a model says about what has already happened along with 30 years of what will happen is misleading. He does it anyway.

I can find no defense for claiming it is okay to judge the skill of a model designed to project changes for the future by using 60 years of data, 30 of which were available at the time the model was made. A model was made to try to glean insight about the future, looking at decades of data from the past, and some people 30 years later are saying it is okay to judge that model by comparing its results to data where half of that data was used in creating the model.

That claim is... well, bizarre. I was going to offer a humorous demonstration of why by creating a fake model which would generate results which claim the planet would start cooling after 1988. That obviously didn't happen, yet my fake model would pass the very same tests I criticized with flying colors. My thought was that'd be a funny way of showing how nonsensical these "tests" are.

But then I decided I didn't want to. This issue isn't one I want to joke about. The joke version of this post would have been way more fun, but it also would have been less insightful.
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